Veterans The Ravens Might Cut Before 2014 NFL SeasonPosted on June 03, 2014 by Jeremy Herskovic
Ozzie and company made it clear on many occasions that they are not done building the Ravens’ roster. Before the season starts, many analysts predict that the Ravens will add a veteran cornerback, right tackle, and perhaps other “camp casualties” which will become available as teams begin cutting down from 90 players to the season roster of 53.
While the idea of adding veteran talent upfront or in the defensive backfield (bolstering units that have already undergone major transformations this offseason) seems exciting, roster spots will need to be made available. While it is obvious that not all 20+ of the rookies will get roster spots, there are a few veterans whose spots may also be cleared to make room for veteran help.
1. Jah Reid: Considered a few weeks ago to be the potential starting right tackle, Reid’s offseason has gone from bad to worst. Reid was arrested in early March for aggravated battery, and may face a team penalty, while the injury bug that has nagged him since entering the league a third round draft pick out of UCF in 2011 rears his ugly head again this offseason. Reid did not participate in OTA’s this week, as he is recovering from a calf injury. If he is not healthy before training camp, expect second year guys Wagner and Jensen to take over competition for the starting Right Tackle spot.
2. Terrence Cody: When Art Jones departed for Indianapolis, many were concerned that the Ravens defensive line would be unable to cope. Cody was brought in to be a sort of cushion (no pun intended) to the blow, but in May the Ravens drafted two defensive linemen (Jernigan in the second and Urban in the fourth), and signed six undrafted defensive linemen (Brown, Hopkins, Meder, Pataialii, Roberts, Taylor). Combined with veterans Ngata, Tyson, Canty, and second year pros Lewis-Moore and Williams determined to make an impact, there is little room on the roster for 6’4 340-pound Mount Cody. Battling injuries throughout his career, many have slighted Cody, calling him lazy and unmotivated. Frequently a candidate to be overweight at the start of training camp, the Ravens may choose to go with youth and potential over inconsistency and injury.
3. Darian Stewart: An under-the-radar signing towards the beginning of the offseason, Stewart was most likely the plan-B in the Ravens’ offseason plans to get a more athletic safety paired with second-year free safety, Matt Elam. While many Ravens’ fans weren’t all too ecstatic about the signing, depending on Terrence Brooks’ progression, Stewart may be asked to start the season the starting Free Safety until Brooks is ready. Unfortunately for Stewart, his competition for a roster spot features backups such as Jeromy Miles, Omar Brown, Anthony Levine, and Brandyn Trawick, all of whom have made the roster in the past for their special teams contributions. While Stewart has proved to be a solid contributor at safety for the Rams, he may find that the Ravens defensive backfield is just too crowded to work his way into.
4. LaQuan Williams: Best known for his two clutch catches on the final drive of the 2011 Ravens-Steelers game (which ended with a last second touchdown pass to rookie Torrey Smith), Williams has slipped the wrong way down the ladder, leading him to be cut during the last offseason and resigned at the conclusion of this season. Once a consideration for number three receiver, Williams joins a competitive, crowded receiver competition this year against slated starters Torrey and Steve Smith, key role players Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown, fellow veterans looking to breakout Aaron Mellette, Gerrard Sheppard, and Deonte Thompson, and a host of rookies looking to make the roster including Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, and Jace Davis.
5. A.Q. Shipley/Gino Gradkowski: This one’s tough. If Jah Reid is cut, the Ravens may keep both of these guys as quality depth, but as of now, I don’t see the Ravens keeping both of these under-performing starters from a season ago. While the Center battle last year eventually went to Gradkowski, Shipley was forced to play on his left side when starting Left Guard Kelechi Osemele went down for the year after the week 5 Dolphins matchup. The Ravens really like fifth-round draft pick John Urschel out of Penn State. If he is able to pick up the Ravens offense as quickly as the Ravens expect his dual-master’s degree touting mind to, expect Gino to be cut before training camp. If, however Urschel and slated starter Jeremy Zuttah have trouble, expect Gino to be the insurance and Shipley to be on the next train home.